Letters: Scots see through BP boss’s vote No message

Have your say

So Brian Monteith welcomes BP chief executive Bob Dudley’s intervention into the independence debate because he thinks “Great Britain is great and it ought to stay together” (News, February 9).

Mr Dudley’s company operates in more than 80 countries, including some of the world’s most unstable regions, such as Iraq, Egypt, Angola and Libya, and yet seemingly the prospect of operating in an independent Scotland brings him out in a sweat.

Does he seriously expect us to believe that BP would decide that Scotland’s oil is no longer worth it? Hardly.

In fact, he said as much in his interview. His main warning was that independence might mean that BP would have to set up a second head office here – how is that a bad thing for Scotland?

Brian Monteith might be excited by Mr Dudley’s clumsy intervention but ordinary Scots will see through it. The very fact that the present Union works so well for Mr Dudley, an American multi-millionaire oil executive, is at the core of the independence issue.

Great Britain might well be “great” for him, but Mr Dudley cares nothing for the lives and wellbeing of everyday Scots, its ordinary working folk, pensioners, children, its sick and disadvantaged.

Only independence will give Scotland the power and opportunity to change those peoples’ lives for the better, to use the incredible resources of this wonderful country (including Mr Dudley’s precious oil) for the benefit of all of us, not just a privileged few.

William Davies, Penicuik

Threatened tenements are worth preserving

SUPPORTERS of the New Street/East Market Street redevelopment site (aka Caltongate) have a mixed bunch of incorrect views.

Ex-councillor Alisair Paisley claims that the tenements in Canongate threatened with demolition are one-room flats with outside toilets. They are, in fact, some of the best public housing in the city, two- and three-apartment flats built in the 1930s with internal bathrooms and kitchens, solidly constructed of stone.

Similar flats around central Edinburgh designed by the talented inter-war city architect, E J MacRae, are still highly sought after.

Councillor Ross applauds the new public square in the scheme, claiming it will be an “attractive public space to meet colleagues and friends”. A closer look at the developer’s own environmental studies demonstrates that the square will be mostly in shadow, even at the summer solstice, and any local can tell you the wind whistles under North Bridge and along East Market Street at the moment.

It will be much worse when the funneling effect of the proposed six-storey new hotels on the south side of the street are built. Not the kind of place I will arrange to meet my friends.

Councillor Perry, Chair of the Planning Committee, claims that the controversy arose because some people always object to modern architecture. What a confession from the man who is supposed to guide city development! Has he no way of distinguishing between good and bad modern architecture? Are there no criteria he can apply? The government’s advisory organisation, Architecture and Design Scotland, is just down the Canongate – could he not get some advice if he cannot tell good from banal?

However, arguments about the aesthetics of the proposals are beside the point. It’s the content of the scheme, the functions of the new buildings, which is the real problem. We are offered more anonymous corporate office space; more pokey flats at inflated prices where no one stays for more than a couple of years, if they are not rented out as holiday lets; more retail too expensive for all but chain stores and coffee shops and a hotel of “pods”, sleeping cells catering for the cheapest end of the tourist trade.

The city seems to be in a race to the bottom of the visitor market.

The city fathers are full of big talk but their actions betray them.

Jim Johnson, Kings Stables Road, Edinburgh

Project fills a gap, but with what?

The Caltongate Project does indeed fill a gap, it will bring jobs and boost the economy, but at what cost?

In spite of the considerable opposition to this scheme, by only two casting votes out of 14, we have it anyway and will be saddled with it for decades.

Surely when planning is decided for an iconic part of our capital city, we should wait for a plan that would be worthy of Edinburgh.

When Edinburgh’s New Town was started in the 18th century, a national competition was held to ensure that there would be a beautiful and enduring result. Now it seems as if a gap site must be filled at any cost, with architecture that can be found in any city anywhere – soulless.

Perhaps, for an iconic area, Planning Committee rules should be changed for the future to ensure that approval is much more positive than that of two casting votes.

Name and address supplied

Paisley is wrong over Caltongate apartments

Regarding former city councillor Alastair Paisley’s comments welcoming the new Caltongate development, February 3, his description of the tenements on the Canongate having outside toilets are wrong.

My sisters and I often stayed with my aunty and uncle who lived on the top floor/balcony of the tenement. Yes, a lot of the flats have only one bedroom but they are of a good size. They had baths and hot water. The council has deliberately let these buildings go into ruin.

Jeanette Rogers, Boswall Parkway